5 Lessons From Our Favorite 2016 Political Video Ads

 In Design, Political Campaigns, Top Tips

We’ve all seen our fair share of political ads on TV or online: the good, the bad, and the even worse than bad. For obvious and not so obvious reasons, there are certain political videos that resonate with us more than others and even go on to influence our votes. Here are the 5 best attributes we’ve gathered from this year’s top political video ads.

  1. Be Humorous

Gerald Daugherty, a candidate for Travis County Commissioner, incorporated humor into some of his campaign videos, much like this video where his wife begs voters to re-elect Gerald so she doesn’t have to listen to him talk about policies all day! When used tastefully, humor can be very effective to showcase a candidate, but producers need to be cautious when employing because it can be hard to do just right.

  1. Evoke Emotion

Jason Kander, a Missouri candidate for the U.S. Senate, tackled the emotional aspect in his campaign video. While blindfolded, Kander, a former member of the U.S. Army, assembles a rifle as he proves wrong the criticism his opponent has made against Kander’s stance on background checks for gun owners. The video is extremely powerful due to the way that Kander creatively, and with an air of suspense, responds to his opponent—striking a deep emotional response within viewers.

  1. Share Real Life Stories

Hillary Clinton’s campaign successfully mastered this attribution by creating multiple video ads that simply told real life testimonies from real people. In one example, the father of Captain Kahn tells the story of his brave son. Sometimes other people can say what a candidate can’t and connect with viewers on a more equal, relatable level.

  1. Cross Cultural Barriers

This election season, many candidates decided to break down cultural barriers in order to reach minorities across America. Patrick Murphy, a candidate for the U.S. Senate in Florida, showcased his bilingual abilities to meet American’s that speak Spanish where they are: in their living rooms, at work, or on the go. In this powerful video, Murphy tackles the issue of immigration reform fluently in Spanish. This is just one example of how digital paired with strategic video content and targeting can drive key votes.

  1. Use Captioning Wisely

Sometimes, text can say what your video can’t. Using graphics or text to showcase numbers and statistics in a video helps viewers better understand certain impacts. In this video, simple text and graphics are used on top of the video to show how much money candidate Rob Portman was able to help save through his previous actions of voting for legislation to help the environment and create local jobs.


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Morgan will graduate from Michigan State University this spring with a Bachelor of Arts in Media and Information with a selective focus in Film and Television Production. She hopes to use film and video to combine her passion for story telling with her passion for social advocacy. Morgan’s previous work includes a short film that aired in the Lansing Film Festival, placing in the top 10.

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